Rome – capital of Italy and the first city we decided to visit during our trip in Italy. Rome was not built in a day but what all can you see in this city in a day! That was our challenge and we explored a lot! Here is a post explaining our route of you have a similar target to achieve.
As mentioned in my previous planning a trip to Italy post, we actually kept a day and half for experiencing Rome in all its glory. I have written about our unforgettable Colosseum experience already. It is a no-brainier that it is a must visit place when in Rome. No one should avoid it.
Places that will be covered in this post, click on the links below to read specific part.
- Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli
- Palatine Hill
- Piazza Venezia
- Vatican City
- Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola
- Trevi Fountain
Here we go!!
After having a scrumptious breakfast, we left our hostel to explore Rome on foot. Our hostel was very close to Roma termini train station. The route we took passed through two parts of the city – Esquilino and Monti. First we stopped at Roma termini then clicked some pictures behind Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore (built in 5th Century), then took Via Cavour road to reach Borgia Steps (Scalinata dei Borgia).
Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli
How to reach here? As we passed the Borgia steps, we saw many people climbing them and reaching to a certain place. We followed them and literally stumbled upon Basilica di San Pietro Vincoli.
What’s so special? What I enjoyed in this Basilica were the 18th century frescos and Michelangelo’s tomb of Julius II and the famous statue of Moses. One must notice the horns on the statue of Moses. These horns were made by Michelangelo because of a misinterpretation of Moses description in some scriptures. Nevertheless, the statue became famous as Michelangelo’s Moses.
Where to next? We continued walking on the Via Cavour after our detour at the Borgia steps and the Basilica. We took a turn and walked down Via degli Annibaldi and made sure we passed by Colosseum again, to enjoy its beauty one more time during the day.
How to reach here? Palatine Hill is very close to Colosseum, approximately 10 minute walk. Even though there are many entrances to this place, one close to Colosseum is least crowded.
What’s so special? Palatine Hill is the most famous of the seven hills of Rome. It is said that it was once home to aristocrats, palace of the first emperor of Rome and hence also called the nucleus of the city during Roman empire. We were amazed how vast this area is within central Rome and encompasses stories from many centuries. What is astonishing is that same hill is an archaeological site and many stories have been unearthed and are well preserved till date. Besides these sites old palaces, aqueducts and Europe’s first botanical garden can be found here. It’s difficult not to feel that we are living in drastically different times while exploring these areas.
Extra tips? Ticket to Colosseum also includes entry to Forum and Palatine Hill, hence it is very convenient to visit all the three places in the same ticket. But it is highly advisable to keep Colosseum and Palatine hill/Forum on different days as there is lot to explore on foot and it will be super tiring to complete them on same day.
Where to next? By afternoon, while we were finishing exploring Palatine Hill, there was a announcement that the place was being closed down as they had to prepare for next day (Easter day) securities. Pope visits and addresses everyone from the Colosseum on Easter but even Palatine Hill and the surrounding area is heavily secured and closed down.
We were rushed out but then we had an epic walk from Palatine Hill till Piazza Venezia. I think we took the road called Via dei Fori Imperiali until we reached Forum and Septimius Severus Arch from outside. Further we moved to Campidoglio. Campidoglio is a square designed by Michelangelo.
How to reach here? Next obvious stop was at Piazza Venezia. It is not that difficult to locate.. just keep walking where it seems like the most crowded area 😀
What’s so special? It is a wonderful square with superb view of Altar of the Fatherland or Victor Emmanuel II National Monument. Altar is also known as the typewriter by locals. It has the statue of Victor Emmanuel II, mother of Rome and tomb of an unknown soldier.
Actually the piazza seems like just a traffic square but it is the centre of Rome, with two important streets intersecting as well as roads leading to Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon and Trevi fountain.
Where to next? Vatican city, because can a Rome trip end without visiting Vatican city
How to reach here? We took a bus from Piazza and reached Vatican city. There can be different ways to reach the Vatican city by foot as well, but we chose to save time by taking the bus.
What’s so special? Vatican city is capital of Roman Catholic Church and smallest country in the world. It has absolute monarchy, is a city state covering 100 acres surrounded by Rome and headed by Pope. It is UNESCO ‘s world heritage site. It is surrounded by a wall on all sides and has architectural features from Renaissance era and more importantly is the sacred place for all Christians.
Where to next? We decided to just stay in the premises of St. Peters Square and get the feel of this holy place. We believe the Basilica is beautiful just that we couldn’t risk waiting in long lines and investing so much time in one location. We had lunch after this and then headed to Pantheon.
How to reach here? We walked from Vatican city till Pantheon. While doing so we passed by the Castle Sant Angelo (which is a castle) and took the Ponte Sant Angelo. We were almost sure that we had missed Pantheon’s opening timings,but Roman gods were in good mood. Pantheon was open that day for longer duration and they took our batch of visitors in.
What’s so special? Everything! The very fact that it will exists and that too in such an intact manner is no less than s miracle. Pantheon is believed to be the oldest monument from ancient Rome, dating as back as 128AD. What was astonishing for me was the famous Pantheon dome, made of bricks and concrete with an opening(oculus) at the centre. Current Pantheon is third building constructed with the same name at the same location (first two were demolished), but the architects of this one are not known. Once upon a time it was temple of all all gods but today Pantheon works as a church and a major tourist spot.
Where to next? After Pantheon we decided to walk towards Trevi fountain but stumbled upon a beautiful church.
Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola
How to reach here? Just take Via del Seminario Road going towards Trevi fountain.
What’s so special? Well! Honestly we stumbled upon this church. But, we were glad. Just look at the illusion that ceiling created on the ceiling of this church. We took so many pictures of the ceiling to get a complete view of this 3D feel. It’s as if the heaven doors open in the ceiling.
Where to next? Err…we went back to the original plan and headed towards Trevi fountain.
How to reach here? We walked through countless lanes to reach Trevi fountains. The lanes are crowded with restaurants, cafes and shops that frankly I did not even expect Trevi fountains to be so huge. Fountain is 85 feet high and 65 feet wide. I was expecting something like Manneken Pis in Belgium, small structure and huge popularity.. But I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn’t take my eyes off the structure of the fountain.
What’s so special? Trevi fountain is Rome’s largest and most famous Baroque style fountain. What was originally a small fountain acquired this grand structural design which includes Oceanus (Green god), tritons, horses etc. It is believed that if you throw one coin it will ensure a return trip to Rome, two coins for people who are seeking love and three for those who wish to get married. All the coins thrown each year are used to run a shop for the needy people of Rome.
Where to next? After Trevi fountains we were thoroughly tired. We started heading back to our hostel and ended our day. I must say it took us much more time to reach hostel, as some of the metro stations were closed, as Pope was arriving for his midnight address for Easter.
We were thoroughly satisfied with a mere one and half day in Rome. We had seen enough to be thoroughly mesmerized by Roman history and architecture. We thought we had seen the most beautiful structures until we reached Florence. More about it in another blog! Adios!